Through the years, Sierra Leone has been our largest and most prominent mission field. It was also our first overseas field, with American staff arriving in 1855.
Sierra Leone National Conference was formally established in 2001. It now consists of
40 primary schools
5 high schools
Mattru Hospital, a highly-respected hospital in southern Sierra Leone.
The conference is led by the bishop, who is selected by a Council of Ministers. Rev. John Pessima is the current bishop.
Through much of the 1990s, the Sierra Leone church was buffeted by a devastating rebel war. In 1994, all Global Ministries overseas staff were subject to emergency evacuation aboard a US military transport. Most UB churches were closed for many years. Peace didn’t return until 2001, thanks to foreign military intervention. Today, a nationally-elected government is in office and the country is being rebuilt.
In 2007, at the request of Sierra Leone Conference, Global Ministries sent the first overseas staff since 1994. Rev. Billy Simbo and his wife, Mamei, natives of Sierra Leone who had been pastoring a United Brethren church in the United States, were asked to serve in transitional leadership for a three-year period. He worked to reorganize the conference, mentor new leaders, and otherwise put the conference on a firm foundation. In December 2010, he turned over the leadership to a newly elected bishop, John Pessima.
Evangelism is the conference’s main emphasis. Global Ministries continues to provide project funds, assistance for the hospital, and other financial support.
Sierra Leone Conference has a sister congregation in Germany which consists primarily of immigrants from Sierra Leone. Several other Sierra Leonean congregations exist in the United States.